Last summer I read The Daily Five and did my best to implement the structure during my literacy block. I heart D5! I did a really good job at implementing much of the structure, but there is definately some room for improvement next year. I had just began reading The CAFE Book, when I read on Kristen's blog, A Day in First Grade, about the second edition of The Daily Five and the summer book study linky party. I immediately knew I wanted to participate. I checked with my principal today, and sure enough, she had a copy of the second edition and I got to bring it home. Plus, the sisters are coming to Texas this summer and I just might get to go to the training ;-)
Chapter one shares how the sisters classroom management evolved over time, as well as how the D5 evolved and how it has been refined since the first edition was published.
p. 2 We no longer do all five roundsof Daily 5 each day, which confirms what many of you are already doing.
p. 14 ...we are calling our children back for a focus lesson because time has run out rather than because off-task behaviors have shown us their stamina has run out. This is our indication that it is time to drop off one more round of the Daily 5 in order to give children more uninterrupted time to read and write.
I am soooo happy she said that!It seems like time is never on my side!!! Announcements are over at 8:08 am and we go to recess at 10:45 am. Do the math... 2 hours and 37 minutes. My district expectations include Read-Alouds, Reading Workshop (minimum 70 min.), Word Study (15-20 min.), Phonological Awareness (15 min. as needed), Writing Workshop (50-60 min.), Shared/Interactive Writing 15-20 min.), and Handwriting (10-15 min.). I tried to marry the my distirict's expectations with the D5 structure. For example, my district uses Words Their Way for word study so that's what we did during D5 Word Work. At the beginning of the year I barely managed to fit in all five rotations. As the year progressed I changed to four rotations, then three. All the time, I worried that I wasn't implementing D5 correctly, but I was convinced the kiddos needed more time and I required more time in guided reading groups as the year continued. As soon as I read that line I thought, "KaSandra, you've been doing it right all along; you just didn't trust yourself."
P.S. I'm not complaining about 2 hours and 37 minutes. In middle school you get 50 - 65 minutes for reading/language arts per day. That said, I simply did NOT have time for a mini lesson between each rotation when my class was trying to complete all five tasks every day.
Later the sisters talk about choice and it being a key reason students love D5. This is where I can improve. My firsties had some choice...choice in what they read and where they read, or what they wrote about, but not a choice in the order that they completed the D5. I was too worried about who would be where when I needed to pull them for guided reading or an RTI group. I prefered for the kids to miss Read to Someone or Listen to Reading over Read to Self, Work on Writing, or Word Work. By creating a schedule I could controll that. Children rotated to different tasks at different times. Some kiddos were at Read to Self while others were at Work on Writing and so on...but I controlled the rotation. I substituted Meet with Teacher for Listen to Reading or Read to Someone when I wanted to meet with somone.
Next year, I vow to do better. After we have learned the expectations, mastered the procedures, and practiced, practiced, practiced, I'm just going to go for it. My firsties are going to have more choice!!!
The second chapter details six of the seven core beliefs that serve as a foundation to D5. To keep this post from getting extremely long, I'm just going write about the Brain Research section.
The sisters mention Ken Wesson and his research that suggests that the average number of years our children are in age parallels the average number of minutes they can maintain attention during direct instruction. This gives me 6 minutes!!! I can keep it to 10 or 15, but 6 seemed out-of-this-world until I really thought about it. I don't talk, talk, talk for 15 minutes straight. We turn and talk to each other (peanut butter, jelly time!) and answer questions, and write things on our anchor chart, and magnetize things to the white board, etc. I got this!
I also think the chart, How Much Students Read and How it Influences Achievement on page 31 should be shared with parents. I really like how it shows the percent increase in word exposure with an added 10 minutes of reading per day.
If you haven't read The Daily Five, I strongly encourage you to do so. I love, love, love it. It's great for the kids and the teacher. Plus, you save a ton of time because there is no need to prepare traditional centers. You save some trees because you don't really need worksheets. We have a monthly paper quota on my campus that is for real! When you use up all of your copies, the copy machine will not spit out anything but white paper for you. D5 really helps out :-)
Head on over to A Day in First Grade to read what other teachers had to say about The Daily 5 (second edition) chapters 1-2.